Securing credit card processing services from a merchant service provider is key to doing business with modern consumers, for whom credit is the top payment method for purchases large and small. But you have to be careful, as the necessity of merchant accounts spawns fraudulent websites that serve three purposes: to gather your information to (a) use it for financial fraud, (b) sell it to someone else, or (c) to draw payment before closing the website down. Are there ways to avoid such scams as you go about equipping your business with the necessary accounts? Thankfully, the answer is yes. Below, we list four tips for avoiding fraudulent account providers.
1. Avoid websites that are hosted sub-domains
Because hosted sub-domains are easier and less expensive to start than single domain websites, scammers use them for temporary money gathering schemes that often last only weeks. While there’s nothing innately suspicious about websites that use hosted sub-domains, there is about an account provider that uses one instead of having its own domain. If you come across a provider that works out of a sub domain, move on to a provider that doesn’t.
2. Avoid providers that charge unusual fees
Paying fees in addition to tier pricing rates is part of doing business with a merchant service, but be on the lookout for fees that sound unfamiliar and aren’t collected by other providers. When doing business with a legit service provider, you can expect to pay the following fees: authorization fee, which occurs every time a bank that issued a card processes a transaction that the card initiated; statement fee, which goes toward general overhead; monthly minimum fee, which is the difference between your actual fees and your minimum fees allowed; batch fee, which occurs when you send in a day’s worth of transactions for payment; annual fee, which goes toward account maintenance; and an early account termination fee.
3. Avoid providers that have low page rankings
Providers with consistently high page rankings are preferable to those with lower page rankings for two reasons: their website is frequently visited, and is therefore open to more scrutiny; and they invest in making their website highly visible over the long-term, which is something scammers never do. A high page ranking is generally considered to fall within the first page and a half of search results.
4. Check with the Better Business Bureau (BBB)
After observing the tips above, it’s a good idea to check a company’s record at the BBB for unresolved customer complaints. Companies that care about their customers and their professional image always find a way to resolve customer complaints, regardless of the complaints’ nature. If a company has unresolved complaints on its record, it’s best to find one that doesn’t. Otherwise, the next unresolved complaint could be yours.